Church in India

Hey, could someone please help me out, I’m a bit confused:

I’m trying to create a graphic representation of the splits which divided the “One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church” into the different communions we have today (Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Assyrian Church of the East…).

I’m finding it extremely hard to find concise, clear info on the Churches of India, and which communion they fit into.

I know that at some point in time the Church in India was the Assyrian Church of the East, but that some later aligned with the Syriac Orthodox Church (Oriental Orthodox Communion). And i know that there are two groups in communion with the Pope of Rome, one Syriac and one Chaldean in rites.

Do i have that all right?

Where might i find clear, concise info on all the different groupings of Indian Christians, excluding protestant/Anglican groups.

Anyone from one of these ‘Mar Thoma’ groups care to illuminate me on the situation of whichever church they belong to?


And then the Syriac Orthodox are themselves divided into two groups: one that recognizes the Syriac Patriarch of Antioch, and another that is under the Catholics of India (can’t think of his exact name).

The Mar Thomas are basically Eastern-rite Protestants.

The Church in India was once part of the Church of the East. They were then converted to the Catholic Church. The Catholic missionaries were rather oppressive so a large portion of the Indian people rejected them and went into communion with the Syrian Orthodox. These are the Malankara Orthodox. Some have come back into communion with Rome but some have not. So now in India there are the Malankara Catholics and the Malabar Catholics and the Malankara Orthodox which is in communion with the Syrian Orthodox.

The Church of the East has also split into the Ancient Church of the East and the Church of the East. The latter recognizes the Patriarch in raq. The first has a Patriarch in Chicago.

Awesome, thanks.

Two more questions, based on that:

Which of those groups of Christians has a Chaldean liturgy? I’m not seeing how any of those groups would come into communion with the Chaldeans, but i read that one of the Eastern Catholic groups in India is Chaldean. Is this true?

The Malabar Church is Chaldean Rite.

The Iraqi Christians are Chaldean. That is the Church of the East and Ancient Church of the East. I am not sure which of these two the bishops are from that are seeking communion with the Chaldean Catholics.

I can answer that. It all has to do with rival pariarchates.

There were quite a few leading Bishops around mesopotamia in the early Church. Theoretically they were under the control of Antioch once the notion of the Pentarchy developed. In 410 the Christian communities of Mesopotamia renounced all subjection to Antioch and the “Western” bishops and the Bishop of Seleucia-Ctesiphon assumed the rank of Catholicos (later, Patriarch of Babylon was added to that). This was the consolidation of the Assyrian Church of the East. In 431 at the Council of Ephesus, Nestorius was condemned. The Assyrian Church refused to ratify this condemnation, thus becoming the first group to break of from the One Church.

In the 15th century, The Assyrian Church made the Patriarchy hereditary. A group of Assyrians who did not agree with this decision elected a rival patriarch, who sought communion with the Catholic Church in Rome. This was accepted, although he eventually returned to the Assyrian Church. Then, the Pope appointed a new Patriarch to replace him. These people under him, and the other Assyrians who joined under him over time, became the Chaldean Catholic Church.

The second most recent Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, Mar Eshai Shimun XXIII fled to the US during the Assyrian diaspora. In 1973, he became convinced he was allowed to marry based on canon law, and took a wife.

Because of some some liturgical reforms Mar Eshai Shimun made, in 1968 Mar Thoma Darmo, based at Trichur, split from the Church of the East, and became head of the **Ancient Assyrian Church of the East **in 1968 and relocated his see to Baghdad.

Mar Eshai Shimun XXIII tried to resign due to health reasons but was urged to stay. In 1975, he was assassinated. In a council following his death, the hereditary patriarchate was abolished and the current patriarch, Mar Dinkha IV, former bishop of Tehran, to the patriarchate. Mar Dinkha, as Patriarch of theAssyrian CHurch of the East, signed a common Christological document with JPII in the 90s, and this year declared his Church’s intent to unite with the Chaldean Catholic Church, and thus, the Bishop of Rome as well.

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